Sunday, June 26, 2011

Home from Camp Geiger

One Post Script to camp this year and a story that should have been told earlier. I've had a lot of people ask, "why do you go all the way to Missouri for camp." I try to explain that the camp is top notch and that it's well run and well organized, but the big difference is Mic-O-Say and what it means to people. First of all the whole Mic-O-Say experience is a magical thing for all who get into the tribe. But one person in particular really summed up what it is all about for all of us. In advance, I'll confess not having done due diligence in getting all the necessary details. The story as I know it is as follows.

One scout, from a troop around the area in Missouri, had never walked before. He had been in scouting for a time, but for obvious reasons, could only do so much. A short while back, he had a surgery that finally had given him the ability to use his legs. He was quite literally, learning how to walk from scratch. He is on crutches. This young man was determined to be tapped into the tribe. Thursday night he was. Being tapped means you'll be doing some running, and some other activities at camp. You might think this story would be leading to how this young man did all of these activities without a hitch. But no, the story is better than that. The boys who were tapped were guided here and there by the runners of the tribe. When this young man, who managed to get many places on his crutches through sheer will ran into an issue that may have been too difficult, those runners literally carried him on their backs to complete the tasks. As you may know, there are many hills we have to go up every day, and it was up these hills on narrow paths that the runners helped carry this young man up. It was not only that this young man was determined to become a member of the tribe, but the staff at Camp Geiger was determined to see him succeed as well. This is why we go. We're not just going to camp, we're going to a place where a group of people are committed to having young men succeed in reaching their goals, no matter what obstacles they face.

The young man who could not walk a short time ago, did in fact reach his goal and through determination, and the helping hand of someone to carry him through, he is now a brave in the tribe of Mic-O-Say.

Friday, June 24, 2011

"Turn out the lights, the party's over..." - Willie Nelson

As the sun sets on the mighty and swollen Missouri River, we get ready to close camp tonight. Something different for dinner. We had a barbecue in the trail to first class area, just like families getting together for a holiday. After dinner the Camp staff puts on the closing campfire, another great show by a great staff. After that, the tribe of Mic-O-Say will meet on the tribal grounds and welcome in the new braves. Current braves become warriors, and warriors become fire builders. All that 24 hours after the impressive tapping fire, which still burns at this hour.

We're expecting perfect weather tonight, temps in the mid to lower 60's. The first and second year scouts will be sleeping soundly when the tribe comes back from the grounds sometime after midnight. In the morning we rise, have breakfast, pray for a safe trip, and return home. This is the last post from Camp Gieger for this session, as we'll be crossing through these gates sometime tomorrow morning.

Get ready for all the wonderful stories you're about to hear.

Tapping fire

Had fun reading the post this AM and want to experience tapping fire virtually ! click on this video to view it !

Camp Geiger June 24th 12:37pm

It's another day, it's another day...." - Paul McCartney

The sun rose above the camp and began a glorious day. The Arapaho campsite is at the top of a hill and has a glorious view. As the afterglow of last night's ceremony slightly fades, the last day of routine takes over. The main difference is you see the tapped candidates, along with the braves and warriors of the tribe, going through their day more quietly. Merit badge classes are finishing up and the scouts are turning in their blue cards for counselors to sign. Our first year scouts, have finished up most of their trail to first class and can have some time to play today. The game of the day is Ninja. I'm not sure exactly how it's played, but it looks like they're having a great time.

They also made time to take a few cracks at the new rifle and archery range.

We had our last meal at the dining hall with our lunch today. Tonight dinner will be served in tapper valley, and the scouts and scouters who are not in Mic-O-Say will be treated to another great show at the council fire by the Camp Staff. The Tribe of Mic-O-Say will gather on the tribal grounds and welcome all the new members of the tribe. Also there are warriors who are advance to fire builders, and those are:

Robby B., Noah B., Suraj D., Tristan G., Joseph M., and Michael M.

Braves who are advancing to warrior are:

Matthew B., Evan C., Michael H., Trevor K., James K., William M., Christopher M., Conner O., George P., Ben R., Adam S., and Nicolas V.

Lunch: Chicken strips and pasta salad.

Weather: Partly Cloudy and 77 degrees.

Camp Geiger June 24th 7:40am

"Wild night, is calling..." - Van Morrison

An absolutely perfect night for the tapping ceremony last night. Temps were about 78 degrees at the time the ceremony started and steadily went down through the night. The sky was clear, and that's really saying something, because a clear sky here at Camp Geiger gives you a star show like you don't see in DFW. On a super clear night, with all the lights out in camp, you can see the Milky Way.

The Tapping ceremony went off perfectly. The scouts and scouters who were not in the tribe, formed a single file line and were led by a tribal chief on a hike through the camp to what is called the "story fire." When they came out of the woods from that fire, they were led to the giant tapping fire.

The saw the fire as they emerged from the woods and they saw the braves and warriors dancing around it. Then the members of the tribe came down a great hill to form two lines. The braves and warriors run through these lines and eventually fill them in at the end for the scouts and scouters to walk through. It is there that they form a giant circle around the fire and wait for the tapper to emerge. The tapper runs down the hill when the circle is complete with a torch in one hand and a tomahawk , runs around the circle sizing up the potential candidates. He pauses in front of some and moves on. Others however he looks them up and down, deems them worthy, and taps them twice on the chest with his tomahawk. Those who are tapped begin a night of adventure, and start their journey to become a member of the tribe of Mic-O-Say.

Now, what you've been waiting to hear. Scouts who were tapped in as candidates for the tribe of Mic-O-Say are:
Ellis C., Kaleb D., Kelby E., Riley H., Andre K., Justin K., Shelby M., Anthony M., Matthew P., Jack P., Jonathan P., Trey S., Matthew T., Justin W., Wes W.

Adults who were tapped were: Chad Faust, Lee Rebodos

Today they continue on their journey to become members of the tribe of Mic-O-Say. Tonight is the night when they find out if they are in.

Breakfast: Biscuits and Gravy, Yogurt, Cereal.

Weather: Mostly Clear, 67 degrees

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Camp Geiger June 23rd

"I can feel it, coming in the air tonight...." - Phil Collins

The big night is upon us. The boys who are already in Mic-O-Say are getting into their regalia now in anticipation of the big event. Lots of boys are getting more and more excited as the moment gets closer. There is much hope and anticipation in the air. Those in Mic-O-Say depart for the big event.

On a quick note, today was a big mountain boarding day for the older scouts. It's like a skateboard with giant wheels that you use to "surf" down the giant hills here at Geiger. Robby Barry, below, was doing a great job....

until his last run, when he fell. Robby and adult leaders took him to the doctor to get him checked out and it turns out it's a mild sprain. He's already on his feet again.

At dinner tonight was the big King Peewee crowning, the contest where we find the smallest scout in camp (based on weight). We were two time defending champs, and although young Chad represented Troop 451 proudly, he was undone by a much more (or less) opponent. Way to represent Chad!

Dinner: Hamburgers, fries
Weather: Clear and 78 degrees.

Camp Geiger June 23rd 2:40pm

"I want it all, and I want it now..." - Queen

What you are looking at is very important to all the scouts here at Camp Gieger. These are the claws that a member of the tribe of Mic-O-Say wears. There are different types, with different paints, and that hang differently. They bascially distinguish what status you hold in the tribe. You may have seen some of the boys and adult leaders wearing them at the meetings back at home, and if you've wondered exactly what they were, now you have an idea. Mic-O-Say has been around since 1935 and is an honor camping society for the Pony Express Council. In this region of the country they are very well recognized and respected. Each young scout that comes here to Geiger really does get inspired to become a member of the tribe. Many are also inspired to continue scouting well into high school, and involved in the tribe beyond that.

This is the tapping fire where the ceremony will be held to induct new members of the tribe. It's about 16 feet tall, and the members of the tribe, families and others will gather to dance around the fire, then have all the candidates form a circle around it, for the Tapper to enter. The Tapper will select who are worthy candidates to be inducted into the tribe.

What a great afternoon here at Camp Geiger. The weather has been picture perfect and all the boys are finishing up their work for the week.

A Scout is Courteous

The boys are not the only ones who've worked hard all week. Generally the adults pitch in for a major service project every year. We do this for the incredible hospitality we are shown here in camp. We've built decks, shotgun ranges, fences, put up flagpoles, and we always contribute in the mundane every day ways too.

Soon we'll gather for dinner and then the big night tonight, the Tapping Ceremony.

Lunch: Ham and Cheese sandwiches, pasta salad, cake.

Weather: Mostly Sunny 77 degrees, breezy.

Potters @ Work

Young scouts working on their pottery skills !

Video 15 - Shot Gun Shooting

Watch Robbie B. Shooting the at the Shot Gun Range. See if you can spot the shot hitting the target !

Video 14: Riffle Shooting @ Camp Geiger

Riffle Shooting - More Adventures. Watch both Adults and Scouts go at it!

Camp Geiger June 23rd 9:41am

"Tonight's gonna be a good night..." - Black Eyed Peas

Waking up this morning, the boys file out of the Arapaho campsite, down the gravel road towards the dining hall as they head for breakfast. There are many conversations, yet one prevailing subject. "I wonder if I'm gonna get tapped tonight. Yeah, I think I am. I think you will too." Tonight is a very big night at Camp Gieger. Tonight, is when the tribe of Mic-O-Say welcomes new members. As the day goes on, the boys get more and more excited. We'll have a description of what they'll be experiencing tonight a little later in the day.

Tonight is also the night of one of the fun contests at dinner. This is the night we crown the new "King Peewee"! King Peewee is the smallest scout in camp, based on weight. It's a tough competition, but Texas always seems to come through. Once the king is crowned he gets to make a proclamtion that all on the camp staff must abide by. Troop 451 is proud to have the reigning champ and he had a few words on his reign and some advice on how the king can best serve his troop:


We woke to a wonderfully crisp morning with 58 degree temps and hardly any breeze. It was a nice little oasis in the middle of a summer of Texas heat. We ate breakfast and everyone headed to their classes, but excited about tonight, and the anticipation that camp is coming to a close.


Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit, cereal, yogurt

Weather: Mostly sunny, 67 degrees

Camp Geiger Video 13

More adventure for the Trail to First Class guys!

Camp Geiger Video 12

Check out the coolest thing on four wheels!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Camp Geiger June 22nd 10:36pm

"Celebrate good times, come on! It's a celebration" - Kool and the Gang

There were many great reasons for celebration at Camp Geiger today. First, it was family day, the day when families of all the troops on camp can come visit and see what a great place this camp is.

We were fortunate to have some family come up today, with more to come tomorrow. The other great reason for celebration today was scouting itself. Today is the day when the families and the troops gather around the council fire and enjoy a show put on by the incredible camp staff. Troops also participate with skits of their own. The staff provides their own comedy also.

This is also the time we see the Tribe of Mic-O-Say for the first time. They always give a very serious and reverencial performance, as well as having the chance to show the elaborate costumes they have worked on all year.
This year's Mic-O-Say Dance featured 3 our our own boys doing the Eagle dance, Noah B., Suraj D., and Will M.

The closing is very inspirational. It's all about our country, it's founding, the things we've gone through to get where we are now, the greatness we've achieved, and how scouting contributes to it all. I wish all parents of a scout could witness this presentation one time.

Tomorrow of course is the really big day: The night of the Tapping fire. This is when scouts find out if they will become candidates for the tribe. we'll have more on this tomorrow, but after the first taste of what seeing what it means to be in the tribe, there is a lot of anticipation, that will only grow exponentially tomorrow.

Dinner: Little Ceaser's Pizza
Weather: Mostly Clear 70 degrees (but feels much cooler.)

Camp Geiger - Happy Trails Pt. 2

For years, campers have only had the Chief White Sands trail (in Monday's blog) to get from the Trading Post to the Dining Hall but last year, Camp Geiger built a new trail called the Silver Eagle Trail that takes us around the HQ/Med Lodge and up toward the Shower Houses. The trail is shorter than White Sands but steeper offering an interesting choice before every meal. Either way, it's a nice walk guaranteed to get your heart pumping.

Camp Geiger - Wed. June 22 - 4:17 p.m.

This week, high on a tower about 90 feet above Camp Geiger, many of our boys are learning to defy gravity, face their inhibitions and in come cases, remind us old guys that they are absolutely fearless.

Yesterday, we blogged about the boys taking C.O.P.E. and covered a number of the "low course" challenges they were tackling with their teammates. Today, they took to the "high course" climbing up a 65-foot hanging rope, or maneuvering their way up a 65-foot climbing wall and then rappelling or ziplining down from the top of the tower. For some, there was also a triangle of terror to deal with at the top where they walked across a single wire with just one wire to hang on to, a single wire with two wires to hang on to and then a series of wooden steps with only their harness to hang on to - all 70 feet above the ground! But fear not, they are always locked onto a guide wire and they are always On Belay.

After last night's storms, this morning's winds at the top of the tower were at least 20-30 mph. Even double hooked in as all people on the top platform are, it was still a little disconcerting when the wind gusted and the tower swayed. Only a few of our guys were on the team ziplining today but we had a bunch of climbers and climb they did. They were like a pack of spider monkeys scurrying up the wall in just minutes.

But of course what goes up, must come down and for a bunch of our boys, that meant rappelling off the 65-foot tower.

All in all, another awesome day at the C.O.P.E. tower for team 451!